This month marks the first birthday of the digital LSAT. Its inaugural year brought growing pains and frustration even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the replacement of in-person tests with the remotely administered LSAT-Flex. The Law School Admission Council recently announced that the LSAT-Flex will supplant the in-person LSAT through August, and possibly later.
While many test-takers have appreciated the digital LSAT’s new features and faster scoring, many have complained of technical difficulties, poor user interface and the inability to annotate passages on the reading comprehension section. Those who feel at ease on a tablet may find the digital LSAT better than its pen-and-paper predecessor — especially when it comes to flagging questions.
On the digital LSAT, users can flag questions with one touch for easy retrieval from the navigation bar.
On the paper LSAT, applicants who wished to mark a tough question would have had to circle it in their test books, make a guess or leave a row blank in their answer sheet and then turn back to it later. Simple enough — until you find yourself frantically searching for a missed question or skipping a line on your answer sheet with seconds remaining on the clock.
Too many LSAT-takers neglect to flag questions. Here are three strategies that turn flagging questions into a simple but powerful tool:
— Approach the LSAT in the order of your choice.
— Skip hard questions to keep a steady pace.
— Batch question types for efficiency.
Approach the LSAT in the Order of Your Choice
Do reading comprehension passages about science or philosophy strain your brain? Do multilevel games make you sweat? Flag them and save them until the end. If any question throws you for a loop, take a guess, flag it and save it for later.
At the end of the section, revisit those tough questions with less pressure and less uncertainty. By then, you will know exactly how much time you can spare. And if time runs out, then any unanswered questions were those you chose, not those you didn’t reach.
Skip Hard Questions to Keep a Steady Pace
Like a strenuous athletic event, the LSAT is a test of mental strength and physical endurance. Endurance athletes know the value of pacing. A well-paced runner will beat an inconsistent one as surely as the fabled tortoise beat the hare.
LSAT-takers who hit a good pace feel in flow. Their anxieties and discomfort fade away as they take one step after another, then another, and then another until suddenly time is called.
In contrast, if you hit an impenetrable question and painstakingly muscle your way through it, you risk wasting precious time only to end up drained, distracted and demoralized. That’s not a good mindset to take into the next question, even if it’s easy.
No wonder, then, that test-takers often make missteps in clusters. Once thrown off your game, it’s easy to get careless.
Flagging questions is key to maintaining a good pace. If you find yourself losing time on a question, flag it and move on. If a question eats up time, even if it isn’t hard, it’s worth saving for later.
Batch Question Types for Efficiency
Even questions that aren’t difficult may be worth flagging and saving for the end. To stay on pace, some question types that require distinct approaches may be better addressed together.
For example, consider parallel reasoning questions on the logical reasoning section, which ask you to find the answer choice that most closely mirrors the logic of a given statement. Many applicants find such questions unfamiliar at first but much easier with practice, as they learn similarities to look for between different arguments.
Nevertheless, even if such questions are not as daunting as they first seem, they require a different approach than other logical reasoning questions. Flag them and save them for the end, when you can give them undivided attention and answer them together with consistent technique. That’s easier on your brain than switching gears mid-test.
Ultimately, remember that many things in life have to be done in order. Dinner comes before dessert. You need to graduate law school and take the bar exam before becoming a lawyer.
The questions within each LSAT section, however, may be approached in any order. Skip and track questions with the flagging tool to take on the LSAT in the order that best works for you.
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What to Know About Flagging Questions on the Digital LSAT originally appeared on usnews.com